More plaintiffs won't be added to Calif. class action against Heartland Payment Systems

By Chandra Lye | Dec 11, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – The California Court of Appeal 2nd Appellate District, Division Eight has affirmed an order issued by the Los Angeles County Superior Court in a class action lawsuit over allegations of wage violations.

The Superior Court denied a motion to intervene filed by two plaintiffs who sought to intervene in another plaintiff's lawsuit. The appeals court affirmed this ruling.

Plaintiff Robin Edwards, a former employee of defendant Heartland Payment Systems, filed a class action lawsuit in January 2016 stating that some California-based employees did not get paid minimum wage for work they did. Jaime Torres and Jorge Martinez later filed a separate suit in March 2016 over similar allegations.

“The basic claims were the same as in Edwards, albeit adding factual detail and adding claims for failure to pay wages and to pay overtime compensation,” the ruling states.

Edwards later entered into a proposed class action settlement with Heartland and amended her complaint to include the claims filed by Torres and Martinez, and Torres and Martinez filed to intervene.

“Torres and Martinez filed a motion to intervene in Edwards’ lawsuit. The trial court denied the motion, and Torres and Martinez appealed the court’s order. We affirm."

Heartland attempted mediation with the plaintiffs but was only able to come to an agreement with one. 

“The plaintiffs in Edwards and Heartland reached a settlement in principle and executed a memorandum of understanding,” the appeals court decision stated. 

“The Torres plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in denying both mandatory and permissive intervention pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 387.3 We find no error under either provision,” the court ruled.

The appeals court also noted the Torres argument that “the trial court applied the 'incorrect legal standard' when it focused on its fiduciary duties to the class, rather than on the adequacy of the class representatives themselves.”

However, the judges also stated they saw no reason “why the court’s fiduciary duties to review the settlement cannot reinforce the conclusion that the Torres plaintiffs’ ability to protect their interests would not be practically impaired or impeded by the settlement.”

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